Share this article

print logo


Ontario officer suspended on drug-trafficking charges

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- A constable with the Niagara Regional Police Service has been suspended with pay as a result of drug trafficking charges he faces in Federal Court in Buffalo, agency officials announced Friday.

Geoffrey Purdie, a 13-year veteran of the police service, faces an unscheduled court session in federal court in Buffalo for his April 5 arrest by the Border Enforcement Security Task Force of U.S. Homeland Security in Buffalo. Purdie is accused of trafficking in anabolic steroids and similar drugs.

Following his arrest, Purdie was released from custody but ordered to return to the United States for still-unscheduled proceedings in the drug case.

Sheriff warns several towns

on rash of vehicle break-ins

Residents in several towns were warned by Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard this week about a rash of recent larcenies from motor vehicles.

There have been a dozen larcenies on the Elma-Marilla border during the last two weeks, the latest Wednesday night and early Thursday on Tomarsue and Two Rod roads in Marilla.

The vehicles were parked in driveways or out on the street, and items stolen included cash, loose change, gift cards and electronics, including iPods and global positioning systems.

Vehicle break-ins also were reported in Alden.

"Most motor vehicle larcenies are preventable by simply locking your car doors and removing your valuables from sight," Howard said.

Anyone with information concerning the larcenies is encouraged to call the Sheriff's Office at 667-5282.


W. Seneca man sentenced to 12 years for child porn

One of two West Seneca brothers convicted of child pornography charges was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday.

In sentencing Jason Bek, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara said he was skeptical of Bek's remorsefulness.

Bek, 30, admitted receiving child pornography and trying to entice a minor into a sexual encounter. The minor was actually an adult law enforcement official posing as an underage male.

His brother, Timothy M. Bek, 25, a former English teacher at West Seneca West High School, also faces prison time as a result of his child porn conviction.


Sale of painkiller gets man drug diversion program

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man pleaded guilty this week to selling the painkiller oxycodone in that city, and was assigned to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

Emery F. Mingle Jr., 22, of Schenck Street, admitted to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for dealing the pills April 18 and May 18, 2011. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said Mingle risks up to nine years in state prison if he washes out of the diversion program.

Also Tuesday, Farkas kicked a Lockport man out of diversion for continuing to use drugs.

Christopher J. Wagner, 24, of Cottage Street, risks 5 1/2 years in prison when he returns to court June 26. He pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to fourth-degree sale for selling Suboxone to a police informant Aug. 5.


Lockport man denies assaulting stepdaughter

LOCKPORT -- Robert C. Nix, accused of inflicting a separated shoulder on his teenage stepdaughter during a domestic incident, pleaded not guilty this week in Niagara County Court.

Nix, 43, of Locust Street, Lockport, was named in an eight-count indictment stemming from an alleged incident Nov. 25 at his estranged wife's home in Niagara Falls. He allegedly broke in and assaulted his wife and the teenager, Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said.

Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas jailed Nix on $5,000 bail. He is charged with two counts each of second-degree burglary, second-degree assault and child endangerment, and single counts of third-degree assault and third-degree criminal mischief.

Nix has been convicted on five previous felonies, four of them violent, Hoffmann said. Nix was in prison on a first-degree robbery charge from October 1991 to March 2003.


Sight-impaired man faces statutory rape charge

LOCKPORT -- A visually impaired man, accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape this week in Niagara County Court.

Zachary J. Lowman, 21, of 87th Street, Niagara Falls, was arrested Feb. 23 and charged with a statutory rape that allegedly occurred Nov. 29 in the Falls. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth R. Donatello said Monday in court that the girl reportedly told Lowman she was 16. The age of sexual consent, however, is 17.

When police arrested Lowman, they charged him with first-degree rape for allegedly taking advantage of the girl by having her use synthetic marijuana. However, the indictment mentions only that she was underage, Donatello said.

As a result, Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas set bail at $1,000 for Lowman, who had been held for two months without bail.